Based on Peter Turner’s memoir, this bittersweet romance sees a young jobbing actor (Bell) meet and fall in love with the much older fading Hollywood icon Gloria Grahame (Bening). Set around the turn of the 1980s, the film chronicles their passionate two-year affair and the time Grahame spent with Turner’s family after falling ill before a stage show. It’s a compassionate and cineliterate love story that adroitly avoids cheap sentimentality. Playful use of flashbacks and purposefully artificial-looking lighting conspire to highlight the transporting yet fickle nature of performance and the Hollywood bubble. But it’s Bening and Bell who steal the show, both delivering warm, nuanced turns that deserved far more attention during the recent awards season.
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool | Director: Paul McGuigan (UK 2017), with Annette Bening and Jamie Bell. Starts April 5
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